Monday, 29 November 2010

US and France on Russia and Venezuela

You've got to laugh. The US and British government have been falling over themselves condemning Wikileaks for the latest release of diplomatic cables and intelligence reports. I'm not surprised either. The snippets released so far show the movers and shakers in international relations to be venal dummies who base their opinions on received prejudice and caricature. If it were not drawn up in dry language and festooned with the bureaucratic topiary of officialdom you could be forgiven for thinking their opinions were straight out of the Daily Mail's letters' page.

The bits I've reproduced below are from a cable reporting the outcome of a meeting between Assistant US secretary of state Phil Gordon and a clutch of French diplomatic spads on September 11th last year. The full text is available
here. This discussion was about the US and French governments' approach to Afghanistan, Turkey, NATO, Russia, Iran and other bits and bobs. This quote is about Russia:
Galharague described Russia as a state with the trappings of democracy but without any mechanisms for the public to influence government decision-making. "The root of the problem is the regime," he said. Presidential advisor Loras added Russian leaders lacked sufficient, long-range vision for their country and instead, focused on a six-month time horizon and their business interests.
Monsieur Galharague could almost have been talking about the British cabinet.

The cable also notes Medvedev has started to chart a course independent of Putin. There's one relationship that's going to end well.

But the (short!) section on Venezuela is very revealing. Despite winning more free and fair elections than any incumbent presently at the helm of a Western power, Hugo Chavez comes in for some stick:
Levitte observed that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "crazy" and said that even Brazil wasn't able to support him anymore. Unfortunately, Chavez is taking one of the richest countries in Latin America and turning it into another Zimbabwe.
As if the two are remotely comparable. Let me hazard a guess. I imagine Monsieur Levitte finds Chavez objectionable because of his rerouting of oil profits into welfare spending and infrastructural projects rather than Venezuela's wealthy elite (an oil multinationals). How very dare he!

With more releases to come over the coming days there'll be enough material to keep snarky bloggers going 'til Winterval.

NB: No CIA agents were harmed in the making of this post.


Lonely Nobody said...

Really great points.

What got 'my goat' was Hillary Clinton's statement that it was Wikileaks that are in the wrong along with a comment that every nation does it to each other = it's normal.

Her responses to such a serious issue show the exact problem with Global Politics; it's simply full of massive contradiction.
'Selling dirt as if it where Gold'.

Yet, Wikileaks has shown them for what they truly are. Even, the direct President Obama hasn't said a peep on this subject.

When people will look back in 100yrs time; this week might be seen as the time when true freedom occurred due to the power of the Internet & not Politicians such as Ms. Clinton.

Phil said...

It is useful for lifting the lid on what is said behind closed doors, and now Wikileaks are rightly redacting bits and pieces where "normal people" can be identified, the arguments made by Clinton concerning the endangerment of life are appearing hollow and self-serving.